Colorado cool stuff: Bazi, spirits, mints and soda
After launching in 2007 with a multilevel-marketing strategy and several current and ex-Broncos in tow, Bazi shifted course under new management from Beachbody of P90X fame. The new strategy jettisoned the MLM approach in favor of energy shots and a consumer strategy in 2009.
Noting that market leader 5-Hour Energy "is all chemicals," Marketing Director Jeremy Resmer says Bazi's antioxidant-heavy recipe stands out. "There's been an evolution in energy drinks from coffee to Mountain Dew to Red Bull to energy shots," he says. "Basically, Bazi is the next step in that evolution. It's a juice, an energy shot and a liquid vitamin." $2.99 per two-ounce shot retail.
Made by Bazi International Inc., Denver, (888) 935-7808, www.drinkbazi.com . Also available at Emerald City Smoothie (Denver) and Alpha Bicycle (Centennial).
BRECKENRIDGE DISTILLERY SPIRITS
Jordan Via came to Breckenridge by way of a libation-centric career path spanning brewing, wine-making and distilling from South Texas to Napa Valley to Hawaii. Now he's master distiller at Breckenridge Distillery, which launched in the fall with a bourbon and a vodka, but the long-term focus is squarely on single-malt whiskey.
As the plan is to age the whiskey for a minimum of four years, Breckenridge's first batch of single-malt won't be available until 2014, but in the meantime there's plenty of Breckenridge Vodka, made with 100 percent corn, distilled five times, and filtered through activated coconut-shell carbon.
"The vodka is going to pay the bills while the single-malt ages," Via says. Vodka: $26 for a 750-milliliter bottle retail. Bourbon: $39.
Made by Breckenridge Distillery, Breckenridge, (970) 439-5120, www.breckenridgedistillery.com . Available at the distillery's tasting rooms at the distillery (1925 Airport Road) and downtown Breckenridge in Blue River Plaza.
REVIVE ENERGY MINTS
In 2006, Logan Chierotti and Ryan Russo "came up with the idea for Revive walking around the streets of Denver," Chierotti says.
The light bulb: energy-packing mints that compete with Red Bull and energy shots. Flash forward four years, and they've built the concept into a $4 million business with 15 employees.
Their mints offer a similar punch to leading energy drinks, but are "more convenient and healthier," says Chierotti, now 27. (Russo is 28.)
Revive's proprietary recipe includes an organic polymer coating that allows for time-release of the mint's active ingredients - which include acai, green tea and caffeine - over the course of about six hours. And Chierotti isn't just co-founder; he's also a customer.
"I'm probably an excessive user," he says. "I take two or three a day." $1.50 to $1.75 per two-pack retail.
Made by Revive Energy Brands (a dba for Rylo Products LLC), Englewood, (720) 381-4500, www.reviveenergybrands.com . A store locator is on the website.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SODA
Two years ago, Chris "Moose" Koons, Drew Fulton and Rory Donovan bought some soda-making equipment from the Palisade Brewery and trucked it up to Commerce City. The trio then experimented with flavors for a good year and debuted Rocky Mountain Soda last summer.
"We wanted to go a different route than other soda manufacturers," Koons says. "Instead of high-fructose corn syrup or cane sugar, we use Colorado beet sugar as a sweetener. We use dramatically less sugar and try to concentrate on the flavor."
With 10 brands ranging from such expected flavors as Colorado Cola and Rocky Mountain Root Beer and more exotic ones like Pikes Peak Prickly Pear and Boulder Birch Beer, Rocky Mountain Soda is initially focusing on restaurants and cocktail lounges first, and retailers second. "With a little luck, we'll be in Whole Foods and Sunflower soon," Koons says. $6 to $7 per four-pack retail.
Made by Rocky Mountain
Soda Co., Commerce
City, (303) 845-2728,